UPDATE: Elmwood man jailed after breeding facility investigated
ELMWOOD — A 68-year-old western Wisconsin man faces possible criminal charges after authorities seized four dozen dogs from his breeding facility.
Stuart West of Elmwood was booked into the Pierce County Jail for animal mistreatment, and not providing food to confined animals. Sheriff's officials say they were tipped off by a person who was appalled by the yellow Labradors' conditions.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says 35 adult dogs and 13 puppies were seized Friday from small travel crates with no access to food or water — and several animals were found dead at the site. Because they're considered to be evidence, the Animal Humane Society in the suburban Twin Cities will keep the animals until the courts decide otherwise.
The dogs — all yellow labradors — were discovered living indoors in “small, filthy travel crates with no access to food or water,” according to the release.
“What we saw here is no way for a dog to live,” said Kathryn Destreza, director of investigations for ASPCA Field Investigations and Response. “The puppies at breeding facilities are sold for profit, but many people don’t realize that their parents are often kept there for years, subjected to incessant breeding and usually lacking basic care and socializations, resulting in a very poor quality of life.”
The animals were transported to the Animal Humane Society in Golden Valley, Minn., and are receiving urgent medical treatment. According to the release, numerous deceased animals also were found on the property.
“Large scale animal cruelty cases are not something that we encounter often here in Pierce County,” said Pierce County Sheriff Nancy Hove. “This case started with a complaint from a concerned citizen who was appalled by the conditions these animals were exposed to.”
The release states the owner of the property, whose name and property location will be released once formal charges are filed in Pierce County, was booked into the Pierce County Jail on allegations of mistreatment of animals, not providing food or water to confined animals and improper animal sheltering.